NASA selects Mississippi student for prestigious internship
Published 12:31 pm Thursday, August 25, 2022
One Mississippi college student is getting more than a front-row seat to NASA’s efforts to launch future astronauts to the moon and beyond.
NASA is utilizing the expertise of Belhaven University computer science major Sam Williams. Williams, a senior and aspiring software/cybersecurity engineer was selected for the highly competitive NASA Pathways Internship.
Since January 2022, he has worked with NASA online and on their campus in Huntsville, Alabama. His primary tasks included enterprise architecture and cybersecurity as a part of the Engineering IT Resources Office at the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC).
“NASA has been a beacon of technical innovation since its inception, and the opportunity to work with NASA’s computer science division provides incredible industry experience for any aspiring computer scientist,” said Dr. John Estes, Belhaven’s Chair of Mathematics and Computer Science, Professor of Mathematics, and Director of Engineering Partnerships.
NASA Pathways is a co-op program with multiple work rotations and jobs taken throughout college. Williams plans to continue with NASA through the end of the summer and attend school full-time in the fall. His last rotation will end in the spring of 2023.
Williams said, “We are nearing the launch of the Artemis 1 this summer, so it’s an especially exciting time to work in the engineering division!”
During the summer, Williams was able to tour the NASA facilities. He visited the Huntsville Operations Support Center (HOSC), which manages the payload operations aboard the International Space Station. Williams said, “I also visited the main additive manufacturing facilities, where the majority of the Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) 3D printing is done. This was especially interesting as I’ve spent a lot of time working with them during this rotation.”
Estes adds, “Belhaven’s Math and Computer Science Department emphasizes the value of interacting with professionals from day one. With practical-skill projects and guest lecturers from industry, Belhaven’s students are taught to set a vision for life after college, and we, as a community, help meet the requirements of that vision. Such a culture encourages computer science majors to pursue internships like Sam’s.”
Williams is a Brandon, Mississippi native and Jackson resident. He has worked as a penetration tester at a cybersecurity firm based in Clinton, Mississippi.